Lebanon allows Gaza-bound ship to sail


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Lebanon will allow a Gaza-bound ship to set sail for Cyprus.

The French-registered ship, named Julia, requested permission to sail to Cyprus since Lebanese law does not allow ships to sail to ports under Israeli control, including Gaza. The ship likely will change its route at sea.

Lebanese Transport Minister Ghazi al-Aridi said late Sunday night on Lebanese television that he had granted the ship’s request to sail, Haaretz reported. The Julia still must be cleared by port authorities.

Aridi reportedly also denied the existence of a second ship, the Miriam, which was supposed to carry only women.

Israel has appealed to other countries and the United Nations to halt the Lebanese flotilla. On Sunday morning, Israel told the United Nations and Lebanon through a third party that it will use all necessary means to stop ships from breaking its blockade of Gaza.

"Israel reserves its right under international law to use all necessary means to prevent these ships from violating the existing naval blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip," Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Gabriela Shalev, wrote in a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

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